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Macworld 2009 sign-ups open, push some out of keynote room

IDG on Thursday opened up registration for those hoping to attend 2009's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, but made it clear that all but its most privileged attendees won't witness Apple's keynote speech first-hand.

The publisher's packages list now says that all Conference passes, save for the Platinum Pass, now automatically relegate viewers of Apple's opening presentation to an overflow theater in Moscone West rather than let them into the main hall on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The change largely puts a halt to the long queues that in recent years have formed outside the Moscone Center for a significant number of attendees. Under the current plan, only the Platinum visitors as well as the press corps will now have a shot at seeing the keynote in its actual presentation hall; the non-media guests' access is still "subject to availability" and may likewise place some of these attendees into overflow rooms.

IDG has not yet explained the move as of press time.

Regardless of how intent visitors may be to see the keynote for themselves, the packages are otherwise familiar to long-time veterans of the San Francisco show. A Platinum Pass at $1,695 grants both access to the opening presentation as well as to a limited number of Power Tools, Market Symposium, Users, and MacIT specialty tracks; it also opens the door to feature presentations and the Macworld Blast party.

More inexpensive Conference packages grant access to individual conference tracks as well as feature presentations; Expo Only and Expo Plus passes at $25 and $100 each take the conferences away for those who just want access to the usual hall and feature presentations.

All the current prices are for early registration, which ends on December 1st. Macworld Expo starts with conferences from January 5th and the expo proper on the 6th.